In times of drought, no full-time Secretary, minister for agriculture in Maharashtra

first_imgThe government is yet to appoint a full-time Secretary for the agriculture department, one of the most crucial departments, as the State faces one of the worst droughts in recent times. Since the retirement of Bijay Kumar in August last year, Eknath Dawale, Secretary, Water Conservation and Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) has had additional charge of agriculture. Though there was a major bureaucratic reshuffle with the appointment of a new Chief Secretary, and Commissioner of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, the crucial agriculture department seems to have been overlooked. Besides a Secretary, the department also does not have a full-time minister since May 31 last year when the incumbent Pandurang Phundkar passed away. Since then Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil has had additional charge of the ministry. The buzz in political circles is about a possible Cabinet expansion after May 23 when a senior opposition leader is likely to join the Bharatiya Janata Party and be made incharge of the agriculture ministry. Sources within the government said Mr. Dawale is being asked to focus more on agriculture department and a decision to hand over charge to him is likely to be taken soon. Apart from agriculture, the Home department too does not have a full-time secretary, At present Additional Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar is holding additional charge along with Housing. Last week, Mumbai civic body chief Ajoy Mehta was appointed as Chief Secretary while Praveen Pardeshi, Additional Chief Secretary with the Chief Minister’s Office, replaced him. The reshuffle took place after former Chief Secretary UPS Madan abruptly opted for voluntary retirement and was later appointed advisor to Chief Minister on a one-year contract.last_img

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